Social media FAIL: Microsoft's cheesy Amy Winehouse tweet (and even cheesier apology)

British singer Amy Winehouse performs at the St. Lucia Jazz Festival in St. Lucia in this May 8, 2009 file photo. Winehouse was found dead at her home in north London, Sky News reported on July 23, 2011. Credit: REUTERS/Andrea De Silva

Software giant tries to cash in on singer's death, then pretend it didn't

This is a tin-eared classic.

Early Monday morning a U.K.-based Twitter account for Microsoft's Xbox 360 tweeted the following:

Remember Amy Winehouse by downloading the ground-breaking ‘Back to Black’ over at Zune: http://t.co/rWQb0CK?culture=en-gb

Winehouse, the troubled British soul singer whose "Back to Black" album was a big hit in 2006, died on Saturday at age 27. She had struggled for most of her public life with drug and alcohol abuse issues.

As Mashable's Sarah Kessler points out, Microsoft isn't the only company trying to monetize Winehouse's tragic (if not entirely predictable) death. Indeed, there's a long history of record companies trying to cash in on a performer's death even before the body is buried. Same with actors and movie studios.

But this one seemed really in-your-face cold, not to mention cynical. And the Twitterverse was soon all over Microsoft. Just check out the comments in this Twitter search thread.

Then, to make matters worse (in my opinion), Tweetbox360 followed up less than 90 minutes later with another tweet:

Apologies to everyone if our earlier Amy Winehouse ‘download’ tweet seemed purely commercially motivated. Far from the case, we assure you.

Far from the case!

No doubt their abject grief over at Tweetbox360 temporarily clouded their judgment. Except I think they spell "grief" KA-CHING!

A minute after the follow-up tweet, someone at Tweebox360 finally got it right:

With Amy W’s passing, the world has lost a huge talent. Our thoughts are with Amy's family and friends at this very sad time.

That's a little more like it.

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